Nano Research

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 222–233

Multiplexed five-color molecular imaging of cancer cells and tumor tissues with carbon nanotube Raman tags in the near-infrared


  • Zhuang Liu
    • Functional Nano & Soft Materials Laboratory (FUNSOM), Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Carbon-Based Functional Materials & DevicesSoochow University
  • Scott Tabakman
    • Department of ChemistryStanford University
  • Sarah Sherlock
    • Department of ChemistryStanford University
  • Xiaolin Li
    • Department of ChemistryStanford University
  • Zhuo Chen
    • Department of ChemistryStanford University
  • Kaili Jiang
    • Department of Physics and Tsinghua-Foxconn Nanotechnology Research CenterTsinghua University
  • Shoushan Fan
    • Department of Physics and Tsinghua-Foxconn Nanotechnology Research CenterTsinghua University
    • Department of ChemistryStanford University
Open AccessResearch Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12274-010-1025-1

Cite this article as:
Liu, Z., Tabakman, S., Sherlock, S. et al. Nano Res. (2010) 3: 222. doi:10.1007/s12274-010-1025-1


Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) with five different C13/C12 isotope compositions and well-separated Raman peaks have been synthesized and conjugated to five targeting ligands in order to impart molecular specificity. Multiplexed Raman imaging of live cells has been carried out by highly specific staining of cells with a five-color mixture of SWNTs. Ex vivo multiplexed Raman imaging of tumor samples uncovers a surprising up-regulation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) on LS174T colon cancer cells from cell culture to in vivo tumor growth. This is the first time five-color multiplexed molecular imaging has been performed in the near-infrared (NIR) region under a single laser excitation. Near zero interfering background of imaging is achieved due to the sharp Raman peaks unique to nanotubes over the low, smooth autofluorescence background of biological species.


Carbon nanotubesRaman scatteringbiomedicinemultiplexed imaging
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Supplementary material

12274_2010_1025_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (472 kb)
Supplementary material, approximately 472 KB.

Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010